That Time Rampage Jackson Randomly Returned to the UFC for 1 Fight

Matthew Ryder@@matthewjryderFeatured ColumnistMarch 27, 2017

MONTREAL, QC - APRIL 25:  (L-R) Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson of the United States and Fabio Maldonado of Brazil embrace after their UFC catchweight bout during the UFC 186 event at the Bell Centre on April 25, 2015 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

Combat sports is a bizarre space by any reasonable metric.

People leather up and get paid to blast each other in the chops for the amusement of the general populace, and the one who does it better will often double his or her pay for winning.

They might even get a further bonus on top of that, if they provide adequate spectacle on the way to their success.

Needless to say when people who have chosen this enterprise as a career are met with choices and conflicts related to the amounts they're receiving in the noted contextsor the means by which they'll collect those amountsthings can get a little unsteady. After all, when one is signing a contract to engage in a fistfight on a Saturday night, it's not silly to think that the fine print isn't the first thing on their mind.

And so we come to the struggle of Bellator headliner Quinton "Rampage" Jackson. In 2013, he left the UFC to join Bellator after he had some issues with how Dana White and company did business. He fought three times for his new bosses, going 3-0, before realizing he wasn't crazy about the greenness of the grass there either.

What unfolded was a lengthy stretch where Jackson refused to fight for Bellator, and the company attempted to force him to fight for them. The end result was that some lawyers got rich, Jackson went to the UFC for a single bout with Fabio Maldonado, and Bellator eventually got him back—he beat Satoshi Ishii last June, and he'll rematch King Mo Lawal this weekend at Bellator 175.

The Maldonado fight itself was a weird, off-and-on proposition that came together at the 11th hour and had to be contested at a catchweight in order to happen at all. It helped add starpower to a lagging UFC 186 and was contested largely on the feet between two men who enjoy showcasing their boxing.

It was a curious happening all around, and though the fight itself is not one that immediately springs to mind for being memorable, it's worth recalling that time Jackson and Maldonado threw down for one key reason: It reminded us all just how weird the business of combat sports can be.